Constituting Development in Somaliland

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  • 1. Constituting Development in Somaliland Development, Democracy, and Institution-Building Mercatus Center George Mason University October 7, 2009 Sujai Shivakumar PhD Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy The National Academies
  • 2. The 21 st Century Challenge
    • Numerous independent nation states emerged in the 20th Century…
      • End of European Imperialism
      • Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Struggles
    • .. but many have not succeeded
      • Development Failures, State Failures
      • Plunder and Pillage; Humanitarian Crises
    • How to achieve democratic governance in the 21st Century?
      • How do we achieve stable, self-governing societies?
      • How do we address the Challenge of Development?
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 3. The Constitutional Challenge Sujai Shivakumar PhD
    • Whether human societies are capable of establishing good government from refection and choice, or whether they are destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force
        • Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist
  • 4.
    • Focus on Somaliland
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 5. Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 6. Somali Society
    • Clan structure remains the bedrock foundation of the pastoral Somali society
      • The primacy of clan interests is its natural divisive reflection at the political level.
    • The viability of the blood compensation paying group depends primarily on how wealthy the members are.
      • As long there is a social need for the dia-paying group, the traditional structures will persist.
    • Somali customary laws
      • Xeer can be contracted into - and out of – and, according to need, contracts can be abrogated, modified, rescinded or new ones made.
      • Basis of new Somaliland constitution
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 7. A Recent History of Somaliland (in Brief)
    • British Somaliland (1899-1960)
      • Ruled from British India; Provided security to the Suez Canal and safety for the Empire's vital naval routes through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden
      • Briefly conquered by the Italians during WWII
    • Merger with Somalia
      • 1967 Coup by Siad Barre, who instituted a Marxist regime, and became a close ally of the Soviet Union
      • Disenchantment with Somalia as SL is marginalized in government
    • Civil War
      • 1981- 1990: Somali National Movement seeks to topple Barre
      • Barre responds with areal bombings
    • Independence (1991)
      • Somaliland asserts independence—Still remains unrecognized
      • Inter-clan conflict continues through mid-1990s
      • Peace conference (1993) and gradual fall in violence; Rebuilding begins
      • Mid to late1990s—New Constitution adopted
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 8. Today’ Presentation
    • Institutions and Development
      • Development as Adaptive wellbeing through Collective Action
      • Institutions as Technologies for Successful Collective Action
    • Assessing the State as an Institution
      • Limits of State-led Development
    • Role of Democracy in Development
    • Constituting Somaliland
      • “ Starting from Here”
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 9. Institutions and Development Technologies for Successful Collective Action
  • 10. The Meaning of Development
    • Development concerns the realization of our adaptive wellbeing through productive association with others
    • Institutions matter for development
      • Represent a shared understanding of rules needed for collective action
      • We need to recognize and renew these shared institutional resources
    • Many assume state provides institutional basis for development
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 11. State Governance & Development
    • Traditional Interpretation: Development as Transformation
      • Features of a “developing” country  Features of a “developed” country
      • Aid to facilitate this process by filling gaps
    • Role of the State is to transform society from developing to developed status
      • Agents of state to formulate and administer policies
      • Constitution typically recognized as a charter describing the organization of the state and legitimizing coercion by the state
    • The State often does not provide the institutional basis for this transformation
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 12. What is an Institution?
    • They are rules, socially considered
    • By structuring human interaction, they
      • Help each anticipate the actions of others
      • Reduce uncertainty, promote coordination and cooperation
    • To be successful, rules must be
      • Reliable —triggering consistently in similar circumstances
      • Recognizable —subject to broad awareness
      • Non-arbitrar y—seemingly dependant on general principles
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 13. Institutions and Development
    • Institutions are important because successful collective action is needed for growth and development
      • We need to cooperate successfully to grow food, build roads, maintain safe neighborhoods, etc.
      • Successful collective action also needed to craft and maintain rules of the market and collective decision-making
    • When the social technologies for collective action are kept in good repair, we are better off
      • Citizens are better equipped to solve problems
      • Well maintained institutions ensure our improved adaptive well being
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 14. Addressing Collective Action Situations lies at the Heart of Development
    • Collective Action Situations exist where contributions from multiple actors are required to produce joint outcomes
    • Collective Action Problems occur when unresolved
      • Motivation Problems and
      • Information Problems
      • … create sub-optimal outcomes
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 15. Motivation problems
    • Social Dilemmas: Potential conflict between individual gain and collective benefits
      • Provision of public goods (public safety, health, knowledge, etc.)
      • Provision and maintenance of common-pool resources (protection of forests, wildlife, species, lakes, rivers, oceans, atmosphere)
    • If benefits can be obtained by an actor without contributing, temptation always exists to free ride on the efforts of others. May also face overuse.
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 16. Information problems
    • Missing information
      • Time and Place Knowledge
      • Knowledge of local realities, rules, and relationships
    • Asymmetric information
      • Moral Hazard
      • Principle-agent problems
      • Signaling Problems
      • Fiscal Illusion (Policy Context)
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 17. Societies around the world have variously developed institutional solutions to these problems Are these problem-solving technologies still relevant?
  • 18. An example of an Institutional Solution to a Free Rider Problem
    • Free riders are those who seek to benefit from the actions of others without contributing their share of the effort
    • Solution: Ubudehe in Rwanda
      • Ubudehe is rooted in a long history of inclusive community participation in tilling fields for planting crops
      • Found among the Hutu and Tutsi communities in Rwanda, long before genocide of the 1990s
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 19. An example of an Institutional Solution to a “Tragedy of the Commons” Problem
    • The Tragedy of the Commons refers to a failure of cooperation in the shared use of a Common Pool Resource
      • When needed institutions are absent, individuals may be motivated to use more than their share of a limited but openly available resource
      • Leads to non-sustainable use and degradation
    • Solution: Xeer in Somalia
      • Expectations for arrangements to share scarce grazing land and water sources among nomadic pastoralists in northern Somalia
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 20. People everywhere face challenges of collective action
    • In developed countries, well adapted networks of institutions generally lead to productive outcomes
    • In poor countries, individuals often face negative incentives, making it difficult to
      • invest in economic activities
      • Provide public goods
      • Improve communally held resources
    • This failure of social cooperation is rooted in a variety of social dilemmas that remain unsolved—there are no relevant institutions
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 21. Crafting Solutions to Collective Action Problems
    • A Complex task …
      • Collective Action Problems are often highly localized
      • Social dilemmas are numerous and often difficult to diagnose
      • Different interests and theories about working properties of rules can make agreement difficult
    • … but one that is necessary
      • Existence of institutions like ubudehe and xeer show that it is possible
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 22. Crafting Solutions to Collective Action Problems
    • Improving development requires a focus on the multiple contexts within which citizens can identify and craft solutions to problems of collective action
      • This perspective differs from the State-centered approach to development
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 23. Ideology of the State
    • The State as the Preeminent Tool for Development
      • Rulership
        • unity of power to maintain unity of law critical for social harmony—Hobbes
      • Governance
        • Bureaucratic Public Administration—Weber & Wilson
        • Aggregate data  Develop Policy  Implement Policy
    • This ideology still widely articulated
      • But is the State competent to address the range of collective action problems facing its subjects?
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 24. Is the State Competent?
    • The Knowledge Problem
      • Agents of the state cannot gain “knowledge of time and place”— Friedrich Hayek
    • The Motivation Problem
      • Possibility of self-seeking and opportunistic agents of the state — James Buchanan
    • The Intellectual Crisis of Public Administration
      • Ideology of state stifles modes of creative inquiry and participation among citizens in solving problems of collective action — Vincent Ostrom
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 25. Failures of the Ideology of the State
    • The emphasis on state-led development has often ruined capabilities for locally based problem-solving
    • The results have often been catastrophic
      • Rwanda
        • Indigenous institutions like ubudehe have been overlooked in favor of the “modernizing” potential of the state
        • Resulting deterioration of networks of trust contributed to the genocide
      • Somalia
        • UN imposed constitution failed to account for local institutional resources, like xeer
        • Somali rulers exploited indigenous institutions to stay in power, fraying the constitutional fabric of society
        • Resulting in famine, civil war, state collapse
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 26. What is the alternative?
    • Begin with the recognition that failures of development are rooted in institutional failures
      • The state often does not address underlying problems of collective action
      • Organization of state often fosters perverse incentives of its own
    • Need to develop an alternate approach to the puzzle of development
      • One based on a deeper understanding of democracy and constitutional government
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 27. The Meaning of Democracy Foundations of Constitutional Governance
  • 28. The Role of Democracy in Development
    • Democracy concerns the norms of inclusion in public discourse and decision making
      • Participation and Debate
        • Ensures that policy decisions draw on knowledge that individuals have of their own time and place
      • Consensus
        • Helps strengthen common understandings about new decisions and rules—creating an institutional basis for successful collective action
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 29. Centralized Democracy?
    • Popular view equates democracy with elections of representatives to a national government
      • Some believe that party politics associated with elections interfere with State’s ability to govern wisely
      • Idea underpins current efforts in “Nation-Building”
    • Centralized democracy can lead to ‘political free-riding’ that stifles local initiative and problem-solving
      • Tocqueville
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 30. Polycentric Governance
    • Tocqueville, in Democracy in America , described a system of:
      • Multiple overlapping arenas of political authority
      • Various scales, from community organizations, to state government to national government
    • Governance structures are adaptive framework for problem-solving
      • World Wide Web is a modern example
      • Role of public entrepreneurship in seeking solutions to problems of collective action
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 31. Foundations of Constitutional Governance
    • Constitutionally Constrained Democratic Governance
      • Focus on collective action within institutional constraints
      • Citizens addressing their common needs through the freedom to integrate their actions with those of others within crafted rules and innovated institutional arrangements
    • The Challenge: Crafting a system of interlinked problem-solving arenas
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 32. Achieving a Self-Governing Civilization Starting from Here Building on Indigenous Institutional Foundations
  • 33. Starting from “here”— Why?
    • We have to deal with indigenous institutions because they represent existing communities of understanding
      • Yet, we must recognize that evolved institutional forms, presented as indigenous or traditional do not necessarily denote optimal or even acceptable solutions to prevailing collective action problems
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 34. Starting from “here”— How?
    • Challenge lies in developing and modifying existing rules and constitutional amenities
      • Need to harness more effectively the problem solving potentials latent in various locally focused indigenous institutions
      • Need to draw on existing mechanisms/ shared concepts to encourage rule change
      • Normative bases for rules—conjectural evolutionary claims
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 35. Reviving indigenous capabilities for problem-solving
    • Ubudehe is being revived in Rwanda today
      • Focused on cellule level to rebuild local institutions and to encourage individuals to solve problems in association with each other
    • Xeer is underpinning new governance structures in Somaliland
      • Concept of covenanting now used to craft and maintain collective action institutions
    • A major Challenge of Development is to draw on such indigenous practices in crafting capabilities for self-governance
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 36. Crafting Capabilities for Self-governance in Somaliland
    • A challenging environment
      • Civil conflict following the collapse of the Somali State
      • Clan-on-clan violence exacerbated by destruction of common pool resources
    • Recognizing the underlying collective action problem
      • Tragedy of the Commons  Conflict over Resources
    • Leveraging existing institutional capital: “Xeer”
      • Traditional ad hoc arrangements to share grazing land and water sources among nomadic pastoralists in northern Somalia
      • Action-Aid drew on clan traditions to craft new institutional arrangements before delivering aid
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 37. Constituting Somaliland
    • Today, Xeer is underpinning new governance structures in Somaliland
      • Concept of covenanting now used to craft and maintain collective action institutions at various levels
    • The broader Challenge for Development in Africa and elsewhere is to draw on such indigenous practices in crafting capabilities for self-governance
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 38. Somaliland’s “Success”
    • The chaos in Somalia obscures a remarkable political development in Somaliland.
    • Somaliland, which declared its independence in 1991, has
      • held three consecutive competitive elections since 2001,
      • has a parliament with opposition parties, and
      • boasts a growing economy propelled by the private sector.
    • The key to its success
      • The integration into politics of traditional Somali models of governance by consultation and consent
      • A contrast to the standard development paradigm
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 39. To Conclude Achieving a Self-Governing Civilization
  • 40. Achieving a Self-Governing Civilization
    • Alexander Hamilton
      • Presumption that societies of men and women can choose good government through reflection and choice
      • Federalism as the foremost theory of citizenship
    • Alexis de Tocqueville
      • A new age of democracy will only succeed to the degree that it developed a new science of politics that is based on principles of association, rather than on the ideology of state
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 41. Achieving a Self-Governing Civilization for the 21 st Century
    • The challenge of Constitutional Political Economy lies in looking beyond the ideology of state governance
    • Need to understand the nature of collective undertakings with reference to:
      • Multiple levels of governance
      • Multiple sources of adaptation
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 42. Thank you Sujai Shivakumar, PhD The National Academies 500 Fifth Street NW Washington DC 20001 Tel: 202 334 1337 Email:
  • 43. Agenda for Future Research: Recovering from State Failure
    • Analyze link between Institutional conditions and Development Sustainability
      • Impact on Aid on Successful Collective Action
    • Study local institutions and local governance structures
      • Recognize role of indigenous institutions
      • Modernize institutions to address contemporary challenges
    • Reconciling Bottom-up and Top-down governance
      • Incentives to recognize and nurture local/indigenous institutions
    • Training in Institutional Analysis
      • Build capacity to recognize and leverage existing institutional potentials
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD
  • 44. Publications
    • The Constitution of Development
      • Crafting Capabilities for Self Governance
        • Palgrave Macmillan
    • The Samaritan’s Dilemma
      • The Political Economy of Development Aid
        • With Elinor Ostrom, Clark Gibson and Krister Andersson
        • Oxford University Press
    Sujai Shivakumar PhD